Hi Friends or maybe I should say long lost friends! It’s been a hot minute since I last posted and that’s a long story for another day and post. But I’m back today and ready to bring you some new content and of course, some awesome exercises.
I was working with one of my junior athletes this week and had a bit of an epiphany that inspired a few of the exercises I’m about to share. This athlete in particular is right in the heart of some major changes physically. At 14 years old, his body isn’t growing evenly, his feet are huge and basically he’s struggling with body control. We’ve been working on basic movement patterns and more importantly, tension or bracing which is so essential to everyone at any stage understand. Creating tension is pretty difficult though, especially when your body seems to be changing everyday. So this week I decided to bust out my floor sliders because I figured one of the fastest ways to get someone to create tension is to put them on a slippery surface and tell them to stay stable.
Imagine standing on a sheet of ice while wearing shoes that have no grip, what would you have to do in order to prevent falling? You would grip using your entire body!
That’s in a sense what the sliders can do for you when applied correctly. I will give this word of caution though before I get to the exercises, please please do not add ridiculous amounts of weight to unstable movements like this. Your nervous system has to work overtime when it’s unstable and there is not much left from that to handle heavy load on top of it. Using the sliders is definitely something to do in supplement to loading movement patterns or even as a way to fire the body up in preparation for some work. Would you really want to do a heavy deadlift while standing on ice? That’s a fast way to get injured!
Ok, back to the fun part. Here are 3 of my favorite exercises you can do using sliders that are going to teach you how to tension your body.
Meet the sliding Cossack Squat.
Essentially what you’re doing here is a lateral Lunge but you’re letting the straight leg just slide out. I like doing these with a med ball or by crushing my hands together like you see in the video. This brings more tension to the table and allows for better upper body positioning. You want to load the standing leg and keep it loaded for the duration. The sliding leg is along for the ride and if you accidentally let some load shift there, you’ll be very unhappy very fast. I’m looking for quads, Glutes, hamstrings, core and even upper back to be working here. Make sure to work in a range of motion that suits your ability.
Next up is a Sliding Table Top.
I’m calling it that because that’s what I want you to imagine. Your back is a table, so stable that you could balance a glass is water on it and it would stay still. The wrists need to be positioned under the shoulders with hands at shoulder width or just outside. Get the feeling that you are pushing the ground away from you with your hands, this will engage the shoulders and bring more stability. Brace the core using your breath and slowly pull the knees to your chest. You want to keep the feeling in your feet light. Only pull the knees in far enough to maintain the table position.
And last up for some dynamic fun, this is an Alternating Lunge with a freeze.
I love jump lunges and this version is pretty cool. Once in the Lunge on the sliders, you will already have to work hard so you don’t do the splits, ouch! Use your arms to create force with the legs and think about keeping hips level throughout the motion. Brace with your breath and let an exhale out to initiate the motion. I like doing these with intensity and then freezing for a few seconds. That brings even more stability and tension to the plate. Plus, I’m also a big fan of contrast speed work when working on building quickness with control. Think of each rep as an all our exertion, then challenge yourself to become a statue when you stabilize the lunge.
As with all exercises, but especially these because they have a higher value to your nervous system, own each rep, don’t rush. Strength Coach Meghan Calloway talks a lot about treating each rep as it’s own set and I think that’s an incredible way to approach these challenging moves. Quality is always a better choice especially when doing more advanced exercises.
Hope you enjoy these, happy Friday!